2 more charges filed in fatal wrong-way crash

Willie Dumel charged with driving with suspended license, arson

By Ben Candea , Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI - Prosecutors filed two more charges against the 25-year-old man accused in a fatal wrong-way crash on Interstate 95.

Charges of driving with a suspended license and arson were filed against Willie Dumel on Wednesday.

"If you're in commission of a felony and you cause damage to a conveyance, then we can charge you with arson," said prosecutor Griska Rodriguez.

Dumel was also classified as a habitual violent offender.

A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge raised his bond to $165,000, although he is being held without bond because of a probation violation.

"To increase a bond on a defendant that has no bond begs the question 'What are we doing here?'" said Dumel's attorney, Andrew Rier.

Dumel already faces several charges, including four counts of vehicular homicide, in connection with the April 3rd crash. He continues to use a wheelchair after breaking both of his legs in the crash.

The chase and the crash

According to the arrest affidavit, Opa-locka Police Corporal Sergio Perez observed a black Chevrolet Suburban make an improper right turn from the center lane at Northwest 22nd Avenue and S.R. 9. A recording of police communications during the pursuit indicates Perez recognized Dumel or the vehicle in connection with a robbery.

When Perez activated his emergency lights and sirens, Dumel drove away, according to the affidavit. Dumel entered the northbound ramp for I-95 at the Golden Glades Interchange, then exited westbound at Ives Dairy Road. He then entered the southbound exit ramp at Ives Dairy Road but was heading northbound.

"He was fleeing from the Opa-locka Police Department and was traveling in the opposite direction on I-95, where he collided with a car head-on," said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez.

The crash killed the four people inside the van, identified as: Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz, 33, of California; Albertson Anthony Almase, 31, of Fort Lauderdale; Kristina Almase, 26, of Fort Lauderdale; and, Lily Marie Azarcon, 26, of the Philippines.

Opa-locka police are investigating whether Perez pursued Dumel the wrong way on I-95 after he allegedly fled from the traffic stop.

According to the department's chase protocol: "Officers shall not operate their vehicle in a manner that causes them to go against the flow of traffic in an effort to maintain contact with the fleeing vehicle. Officers shall try to parallel the fleeing vehicle by going with the flow of traffic and keeping other units advised via radio."

Perez was put on administrative leave.

"We consider all of the facts around a case, but as this point, we're not using that to calculate the fact that Mr. Dumel did enter I-95 going to wrong way and did cause the death of four individuals on that night, based on his own actions," said Rodriguez.

"What's left out of the oral argument is the fact that my client was being pursued by another officer who had previously been arrested for drag racing," said Rier.

Dumel reportedly told detectives his name was Paolo Lafrance after the crash.

"It is believed that the defendant gave that name in an attempt to conceal his true identity," stated the arrest affidavit. "Defendant's license is suspended and defendant has a possible warrant for probation violation."

But a man named Paolo Lafrance told Local 10 his identity was stolen four years ago and someone has been using it since.

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